Born to Lead is ForceBrands’ original leadership series that highlights industry thought leaders across CPG.

In this episode of Born to Lead, we caught up with Madeline Haydon, Founder and CEO of plant-based coffee creamer nutpods.

What makes Haydon’s leadership journey so unique is that she’s building a consumer brand in a highly competitive category with limited industry experience — meaning, she came from blood banking, not CPG. What also makes her stand out in the space is that she’s a female founder.

We caught up with her to learn more about her story, how she’s inspiring others in the space to make the industry more diverse, and what she found ‘difficult to discuss.’ And just like in past episodes, we ask the question, ‘Are some people just born to lead?’

Check out some highlights below:

On Making the Industry More Diverse
“I would encourage the investment community to see beyond the pedigree of the past — of what people have been able to achieve. Instead, talk about how committed this person is; how strongly they see their product being differentiated… and then take chances on people who come from different walks of life because we have different experiences in which to solve problems. And those are sometimes the best origins and sources on how you really disrupt an industry.”

On Moving Into E-Comm Before Retail
“We decided on e-comm because we have 510 Kickstarter backers and we want them to have a way to reorder our product, and we can scale there and we can fail there. And we can do that ‘fail fast concept’ where it’s like if it doesn’t work, then we haven’t invested in distribution and brokers, and a sales team and a marketing team.”

On Leadership
“To be a leader, you have to really have a heart for people and to serve them well while you’re setting a direction in which you’re willing to stick your neck out and risk a little bit about yourself.”

Watch the full episode here.

ForceBrands offers end-to-end hiring solutions for all stages of growth. Whether you’re just starting to hire or are looking for the next step in your career, we’re here to help you be a positive Force that makes an impact.